Week 1 round-robin moneyline parlay: Packers, Bills on upset watch
In "The Royal Tenenbaums," author Eli Cash (played by Owen Wilson) explains the concept of his most recent novel: "Everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is ... maybe he didn't."
As football season begins more than six months after the Super Bowl, everyone is already aligned on how the year will play out. We're presupposing. What if we didn't?
That's what this column is about. Every Wednesday, we'll try to find five underdogs with value, and we're going to put them together in the lottery ticket of sports bets: the underdog round-robin moneyline parlay.
How it works
We parlay five underdogs together in 10 different three-team parlays. Using every combination of a three-team parlay is called a round robin, so we're going to take one unit and use it to make 11 different bets: 10 three-team parlays, and one five-team parlay. If three teams pull the upset, you'll likely double your money. If four teams win, you're connecting on four separate parlays and will be very pleased with the return. If all five teams win? Then it's Scrooge-McDuck-into-the-gold-doubloon-silo time!
Who to play
Pittsburgh Steelers ML +240
As the only +200 or longer price included in the parlay, it also seems the least likely. We've all predicted the Steelers are going to have a rough season. The only other big moneyline candidate is the Browns to knock off the Chiefs, which I don't hate. But late in 2020, the Steelers were just 2.5-point underdogs on the road against the Bills, so you can start to see the value in a team that won its division last season as a big 'dog.
Cardinals ML (+135)
This game feels like a coin flip, and both the Cardinals and Titans are capable of putting up points. It could be a dizzying track meet where, around 4 p.m. ET, someone will have just scored the go-ahead, game-winning touchdown. So why not try Arizona at a plus price?
Eagles ML (+145)
Same story as above, junior varsity edition. Neither team should be good, but both teams should score. Plus, what have the Falcons done to be deserving of this price tag? The higher octane the offenses, the more likely things could get loose and the underdog Eagles could come out on top.
Dolphins ML (+140)
People are pumped about Mac Jones, but it's his former Alabama teammate who has something to prove in 2021. The Dolphins handled the Patriots in Week 15 last season, and I'm sure they felt like they would have done better in Foxboro if it wasn't their first game of 2020. Let's see not just whether Tua Tagovailoa can show improvement on offense, but whether Jones can survive a turnover-hungry Dolphins defense.
Saints ML (+175)
Fading Aaron Rodgers may seem like a stretch, especially since this game will no longer be played in the Superdome. However, the Saints will have some tricks up their sleeves on offense, and I don't trust the Packers' defense outside of Jaire Alexander. The Saints can put a decoy on his side of the field and run all over Green Bay with Alvin Kamara. The narrative might be that they rallied for New Orleans, but frankly, the Saints are just better.
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.